Ever had such an itinerary that includes a short domestic and international flight, that the transfer time at an airport is longer than both flights combined? Read on!
Its been a while since I posted a report from back in the day. I blame it on college
This report is from the end of October 2011.
Just to put you all on the same page: 2011 was a year of change for me. After having spent four years in Mumbai, it was time to move to Colombo, Sri Lanka. This meant that there were many flights between Mumbai and Colombo, most of them on Jet Airways. Check out the reports of the flights here.
About 5.5 years on, some things have changed about the flights I am going to talk about here:
9W481 departs a couple of hours later than normal, while 9W252 is a Mumbai - Colombo flight while Chennai - Colombo is a route now longer served by Jet Airways.
There are only 3 or 4 B737-700s left in India, a rare breed today!
Apologies for the atrocious images - I kept some of the half decent ones.
Without further ado, here is an international connection from 2011....INTRODUCTION
We were just about winding up in Mumbai, my dog was away. It was time for us to and to start a new stage in our life: Colombo. Instead of taking the usual 9W256 red eye, we opted to go via Chennai. It was basically killing a day, but it saved us time to get some night's sleep. We booked ourselves on 9W481 which departed at 1105 and arrived in Chennai at 1245. Our next flight was 9W252 to Colombo, leaving at 1830 which meant a 5hr45min transit at Chennai. Flying time of both flights were perhaps shorter than the transit in Chennai alone. Dang it.
Such was our delay in leaving Mumbai, I missed out on an opportunity to spot the Turkish Airlines A340-300 that skidded off the runway.
My father got a picture of it, however: ....THE FINAL 24 HOURS IN MUMBAI...
As packing meant the PC was all tucked in a box, I had to head to an internet cafe to web check in - 9W481 would be B737-700! That would be my second flight on Boeing’s ‘Baby Bus’
that year! I selected seat 18F, while I blocked the emergency exit row (15E, 15F) for my parents. And for the other flight, seat 20A for me, 18A and 18C for Mum and Dad. Spent some time at the Phoenix Mill mall, and was surprised to see a couple of Formula One cars! A Mercedes AMG car, but a recolored BGP-001 (Brawn GP), and a Lotus Renault Car.CHECK IN, SECURITY, ETC
We had a lot of luggage with us! 20 kilos for 3 of us, which is a total of 60, but we sure did have a lot more! We bid good bye to everyone, and set off for the CSI Airport for one last time as residents of Mumbai.
Under construction ATC tower..
We reached the airport at 0930 hours, the morning rush was concluding. Before entering the check in area, I saw that our flight would leave from Gate A4, which meant Terminal 1C, a first time for me!
Departures Gate 2, Terminal 1B, for S2, 9W-K and 9W. Curbside.
Premiere check in line for us thanks to my father's Jet Privilege Gold status. Oh, how JetPrivilege has been devalued! Check in took a long time because of our excess luggage. We had to pay for 15kgs of extra luggage, 25kgs was waived off due to status. Helpful!
I had to check send my guitar through some special security, since there was going to be no space in the cabin.
We were at the gate an hour prior to departure. Taking photos at T1C was not too much of an issue. VT-KFL, Kingfisher A320 at gate A3 to Bengaluru, VT-WAM GO Air A320 to Delhi and Patna our Gate, A4, were the nearest activity. I was too lazy to get up and click photos of other aircraft. Many aircraft passed by, (let the photos do the talking!) and VT-WAM and VT-KFL left in quick succession. Again, apologies for the sub-par images...
Terminal 1C view..A sight no where to be seen, anymore..
At around 1030 hours, it was certain that our flight would have a slight delay, which was good news for us. A 5hr45min transit in Chennai was nightmarish.... Just then, a Jet Airways 73G, without winglets, VT-JNS arrived. This was going to be our plane to Chennai!
I headed for the washroom. My Dad sent me an SMS for something big that had just arrived....
No, not this!
I came back…and I saw a mighty beast arriving from London: VT-JEK, Boeing 777-300ER of Jet Airways had arrived!
Because of the brilliantly designed terminal and brilliantly coloured glass, I couldn't get a perfect shot. Oh well, I was happy with I got, at least.
This was the afternoon London race! British Airways (B747), Kingfisher Airlines (A330) and Air India (B777) flights were scheduled to arrive from London. Couple of years ago, a Virgin Atlantic A340-600 would've been in this race, too. BOARDING
Boarding commenced with a long line for the flight. Took me 15 minutes to board the plane. The plane had old interiors, from back in the 2000s. The aircraft was full, 100% loads in both classes! Of course there was someone sitting in my seat...this got sorted out, but its really annoying when it happens....
IndiGo's VT-INT parked right beside at Gate A3.
Taking their time...
Indian A319. I felt these were rare back then....they are very much important workhorses for Air India! (Little did I know I'd be on a flight in one of these!
VT-JGB hiding behind the A320
At 1117 hours, a delay of 12 minutes (considering how late the aircraft arrived), VT-JNS was pushed back for departure to Chennai. Just when we started our taxi towards Runway 27, VT-KFD taxied by us, with a lot of speed! My first flight in 2011 was onboard KFD, which also happened to be my last flight on Kingfisher Airlines.... read about it here
. HARD braking followed as KFD taxied past us.
Start up, taxiing and the A320 passing by: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-SuLhqsTWc
We taxied by the Air India hanger, with quite a few aircraft on the chopping board, awaiting their fate. VT-JBK had also landed in the meantime. I may have not seen the Kingfisher A330 taxiing by us, but I saw one remote parking bay, probably the one undergoing C-Checks (the one used for the SIN route). As we held short of Runway 27, while waiting for VT-KFD to depart, Beauty Number 4 of the day: A McDonnell Douglas MD-11F of FedEx was taxiing right behind us!
Hard times for sure!
Undergoing C-checks possibly?
I flew on her for the first of my 15 flights in 2011. Wasn't a proper 'Kingfisher Experience' but, yeah.
And it kept hiding behind me...HOLY COW!!
The new international terminal, shaping up pretty well!
My final glimpse of KFD..
Alright...its our turn now...
At 1128, VT-JNS had its engines revved up for takeoff. All the great memories, it was time for something new and different. We turned South-East and set course for Chennai.
Take off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnyqrrWwA5QINFLIGHT
Pretty uneventful. I was sweating inside the aircraft, probably because of the temperature and heat outside. As the seat belts signs were switched off, the food service started and as usual, the special meals were given out, before the regular food was served. The vegetarian option contained a mini Samosa (Indian snack) and chhole (chickpea) while the non vegetarian option had a bun and chicken curry. All of this was accompanied with a chocolate cake, tea and coffee. After the meal service, the crew handed out forms for joining Jet Privilege and the service questioner. The first officer came over the P/A giving details about our flight, (cruise height was 34,000 thousand feet, Mach 0.74, flying on a Boeing 737-700 Next Generation, etc, weather in Chennai) and also announced that descent would start in about a minute.
Non-Veg snacks, also note the steel cutlery.. Come to think of it, this is the average meal size of a flight onboard Jet Airways today!
Third party (Flipkart) ads...
Head phone jack!
Overhead panel (note the fading no smoking sign bulb)
Magazine and service questioner. DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
We started descent into Chennai. As we kept descending, I saw the coast and beaches under the thin clouds, and we started to turn towards final approach. It was a runway 25 approach. Clouds grew darker, the cabin got colder. At 1307 hours, JNS had made a slightly rough touch down at Chennai. As we rolled down the runway, I saw many Kingfisher Airlines ATR 72s and ATR 52slying in a remote parking bay. Little did I know this was the beginning of the end for Kingfisher Airlines!
Ridiculously hard braking, and the many Kingfisher ATR's stored, and the whole taxiing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UV9-_O9MEM
The new International terminal was still under construction, which looked great! There were a couple of Air India Express Boeing 737-800’s and a couple of Air India Airbus A320 family aircraft. Then came the under construction Domestic Terminal, which looked the same as the International terminal. JNS was parked beside 2 Air India Airbus A319’s and its sibling VT-JGX. I had to take a video if the ‘old’ Jet Airways interior.
The old interior: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wNKunds7go
I came out of the ‘old’ aircraft (10.6 years is old for a young airline, isn’t it?) entered the ‘old’ bus (the non AC bus which makes your jaws vibrate). This was good for me, so I sneaked in and took 2 photos of the 73G. We ‘vibrated’ our way to the terminal, and along the way, I saw a few more aircraft in tarmac (can’t remember exactly).
It had covered eyebrows
New terminal..THE LONG TRANSIT!
The terminal looked old from outside, and equally sad inside! We didn’t have to collect our bags, so we went out, which looked pretty deserted. It was a short distance from the domestic arrivals to the international departures.
4 hours to kill in an airport which Dad described as 'insanely boring'. Even the security told us so! Just as we were about to enter the international terminal, the security told us in Hindi: 'There is a lot of time to wait, have something in the restaurant and then enter.' We declined. The guy let us in, and we entered the old, cold and empty terminal.
Metro rail lines, they finally opened in late 2016!
So we reached the check in area, where no one was around. Quietness everywhere. The Air India Express flights to Singapore, Trichy and Abu Dhabi were boarding, as were Air India flights to Singapore and Colombo were boarding.
The next few flights were Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur, SilkAir to Singapore and the 9W flights to Colombo and Dubai. The only flight that was in between these two 'rush hours' was the Air India flight to Goa and Kuwait.
It was so boring! The terminal suddenly grew quieter after about an hour. I bought a Tintin book, and finished reading it pretty quickly.The restroom was bloody mess - stinking, toilet paper rolls thrown around, tobacco stains..eww! I wonder how this is in the middle of the night, thanks to many long haul international flights. Without wifi, I couldn't even follow the 2011 Korean Grand Prix qualifying. Ah well...
3 and half hours into the transit, Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur and Silk Air to Singapore had started their check in. And finally, about 20 minutes later, our flight and Jet Airways to Dubai had started their check in. CHECK IN, SECURITY, ETC
We had to wait, SO LONG just to get our cabin baggage tags and immigration forms.
My parents tried to enter the lounge in the terminal (the only decent looking area in the whole damn terminal), but for some weirdly annoying reason, they couldn't get in. Security was pretty straightforward, too.
At the gate, the passenger numbers were also increasing, but most of them were getting annoyed. Reason? The only announcements made for the Air India flight to Goa and Kuwait were 'the flight would be delayed by x amount of time
'. So, our boarding Gate was 2, which meant....remote bay boarding! I had to visit the restroom a couple of times, which wasn't ideal. You win, restroom.
Now there was something I figured out from flightradar24: the aircraft that operated 9W2352 from BLR was the aircraft operating on the MAA-CMB-MAA sector. Yes, a Konnect flight on an International aircraft, just like I experienced a few months ago. Lucky for me, I had my new phone to play with, so I clicked pictures of the activity on the tarmac! My new phone was a basic 'droid. Apologies for the bad quality...
Preparing to leave..
Double bogey original livery Air India A320. The last time I ever saw an Indian Airlines livery....
A Kingfisher Airlines ATR heading towards taking off!
VT-JBD came in from Bengaluru as 9W2352. This would take me to Colombo.
Plenty of action!
Runway 7 was in use, the direction was changed.
We got something to eat (south Indian delicacy - dosa). It was atrocious. The AI flight to GOI and KWI was badly delayed. Boarding for out flight had commenced. yes! BOARDING
So we began our long walk down to the ground floor, where we were bussed to the aircraft. So before we boarded the bus (for once a nice comfy AC bus, not the jaw rattlers like that morning), I spotted a Q400 for the first time in my life, one of many aircraft in SpiceJet's fleet!
Like I had guessed, our aircraft was indeed VT-JBD.
So, here's what happened. The guy tore off my boarding pass. I asked him if I could board from behind. He let me proceed.So a couple of us headed for the rear stairs.
The flight attendant gave me a bit of cold look. No greeting. Passengers wouldn't step aside to let me through. Who was I kidding! I took my seat 20A. I checked out the IFE screen, which indeed showed a BLR-MAA routing! But a few minutes later, everything was refreshed, to a 'Please touch screen to continue'.
The A320 to Goa and Kuwait...still delayed!
So, surprisingly, we were handed out immigration forms for arrival in Colombo. 9W usually gives it on flights to India, so this was nice. As a slight delay loomed, most passengers resorted to watching movies.
All the new movies they had, including Sherlock Holmes, X-Men First Class
TV shows, including Modern Family, Friends, Bones:
What a great World Cup we had!
Music included western classical (Beethoven), to basic pop (Beyonce, Jenifer Lopez, Taylor Swift), Linkin' Park, Eminem, AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, Metallica...
And Bollywood stuff, too. These B737s were fantastic for 4 hour long hauls, keeping you entertained for long.
No sign of us moving....
I did most of it on the BBI TR, see it there
Pushback commenced 20 minutes behind departure time.
So while the CFM-5's were being fired up, the cute Safety Video was played. As the flaps were being deployed, the FA who gave me the cold look at boarding asked me to turn off my camera. Dang it.
Start up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDCH09N6T-Q
Taxi was short in distance, but very slow. We took off in a south easterly direction.
Take off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp5Ugzi9AagHOUR LONG FLIGHT
Service began immediately, probably even before the seat belt signs were turned off. Beer, non alcoholic cold drinks and juices were served (not bad for a flight which is an hour long, right?!) This was followed by a full dinner, however, without the usual tea and coffee because this was a short flight. Heavy turbulence kept all passengers seated, and the darkness didn't help, so pictures were of a zero possibility. So I kept watching a few episodes of FRIENDS. I'm glad the my tray table didn't fall over this time!
Wow, that is a lot for a flight which is under an hour long!
In to Sri Lankan airspace...DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
With the tray tables with us and no word the cockpit, we started descending. Turbulence was with us, all the time. And unlike all my previous international flights with 9W, there was none of the nice smelling anti-inscent repellent.
We landed on a pretty wet runway (which explains all the turbulence) and parked right beside Emirates EK 653 to Dubai from Male'.
Landing and taxiing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ1p8orNgb8
So, for the last time in 2011, I got off the aircraft. VT-JGK was doing 9W255 from the opposite gate.After immigration and duty free, we got our luggage. Because we had the priority transit tags, we got ALL our luggage before everyone else!
But, the guitar held us up. It was the last piece of luggage to arrive. It came in good hands, thanks to the SriLankan Airlines staff. Although we waited for about half an hour, it was alright!
We checked in to the Taj Samudra hotel, were we spent about 3 weeks. It was a unique star to life in Sri Lanka. I was quietly excited for this!
As for Jet Airways, well, the domestic flight was a usual Jet Airways flight, however the mix up on the ground while boarding and the slightly rude crew member meant I ended 2011 on a slightly low note. I had to put this behind me - pretty soon we were discussing a big trip in a different continent! Stay tuned for more!
Thanks a lot for reading
CollegeAviator My other trip reports: 2016Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16
(DL1608 video trip report
, DL2027 video trip report)De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16)
)Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16)
)Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y)
)2011Konnecting to Bhubaneswar (9W BOM-BBI-BOM, Jul '11)Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)